The movie Talladega Nights has taught us that Ricky Bobby "wanna go fast" but we know that going fast as an athlete requires two things-- going faster (duh!) AND getting stronger. Let's continue the Ricky Bobby comparison and think of our body as a race car. In order to go fast, you need to practice going faster. In training you need to have speed days when you push the pace. You should have speed work days that are short and really fast (think track work) and some that are longer and mid-fast (think tempo runs). And that's as far as our car analogy goes...because as a human athlete you need to get STRONGER to help you get faster. One of the best ways to get stronger, to help you get faster is to run or ride on hills. Use gravity to provide resistance to your muscles. You can do hill repeats --up fast, down slow, repeat or run/bike on a hilly course. There. You're welcome. End of story.

Wait what? You live in Charleston and it's flat as a pancake? Not hilly at all? Impossible. Okay before you think that you can get out of hill work I have solutions for you! Don't look so sad. Hills are a great way to get stronger to get you faster without increasing the risk of injury like you do when you do fast speedwork on a track or on the road.

How do we train WITHOUT hills?
  1. Bridges - it's time to be thankful for all those waterways. We have many bridges with steep inclines that allow us to get our hill work done. The Ravenel Bridge and the IOP connector bridge are two great, safe place to practice our hill work.
  2. Parking garage - another often overlooked resource to practice hill training. These are slightly less safe than the two bridges I just mentioned, but a parking garage is a great source of incline!
  3. Dreadmill...er I mean Treadmill. Yes, head indoors (BUT don't put your bike on a treadmill! Read below for a solution for indoor 'hill' training on your bike). Play around with incline on a treadmill. For example 2 min run incline, 1 min flat, and repeat.
  4. Bike Trainer - you an use a 'dumb' or 'smart' bike trainer to get in some great simulated hill work. On a traditional bike trainer adjust your gears to change resistance. OR take all the thinking out of it and get a 'smart' trainer that has workouts preload AND will change the resistance for you. All you need to do is pedal!
  5. Wind - "Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it" Winston Churchill. I'm going to guess that he was referring to riding and running INTO the wind, but I'm not 100% sure. Lucky for us we have a lot of wind here in the Lowcountry. Go out to Sullivans or IOP and ride straight in to the wind. It's a great strength builder workout and simulates the resistance of riding up a hill.

Aren't you glad you have so many ways to get in your hill workouts?! You're welcome, again!

"Shake and bake" baby, you're ready to go fast now! Thanks Ricky Bobby.